The Ten Dumbest Fan Bases in America: #10 The University of Tennessee
The Tennessee Volunteers are the tenth dumbest fan base in the country.
And it's certainly possible they are underrated.
Whether it's running off a national championship winning football coach with a 152-52 career record because he didn't win enough -- only to replace him with Lane Kiffin and then, I'm sorry for having to even write this, Derek Dooley -- or pining for the return of Bruce Pearl, the one man whose very name will never cease to get your blood pumping, so much so that you start a petition to rehire him over Cuonzo Martin. Then that petition, signed by tens of thousands of fans and based on that idiot Vol fan Clay Travis's column, leads to Cuonzo Martin fleeing town. As a result Donnie Tyndall is hired. Tyndall's then fired for NCAA issues leading to the hiring of Rick Barnes, who is now under fire for his own NCAA issues at Texas. Of course Vol administrators refused to rehire Bruce Pearl because of his NCAA issues. So they've since hired two new coaches who faced immediate NCAA issues upon their hirings.
You can't even make this story up.
Yet, it's the perfect Tennessee athletics story. I mean, this is the same group dealing with a present controversy over the Lady Vols being rolled into the larger UT athletics program. You know you've got a dumb fan base when this is an issue for anyone. HELLO, IT'S THE SAME GODDAMN PROGRAM. Why do you need to put the word Lady in front of the Vols. Is it still 1943 in Tennessee? (We probably don't want the answer to that question).
Since Phil Fulmer was fired the program is cursed. Any time something good happens, it's immediately followed by something much worse happening that cancels out the good. If Josh Dobbs won the Heisman trophy, he'd drop it on his foot, necessitating amputation of his leg. If Tennessee ever won another national championship, I'm quite confident the world would end before the trophy presentation.
This is what Tennessee athletics does; it takes good fortune and immediately replaces it with horrible misfortune.
What else would you expect from the only fan base in the SEC that can go deer hunting and not have to change clothes to go to a football game?
Led onto the field by a mascot clad in buckskin, wearing a raccoon hat, and carrying a musket -- all he's missing to look like a modern day UT fan is overalls -- the Vol football team has gone 6-7, 5-7, 5-7, 5-7, and 7-6 in the past five years. After this year's 7-6 season Tennessee fans are already making reservations for the SEC Championship game in Atlanta in 2015. Screaming: "We're back, baby!" while swilling from a moonshine jug and sticking up their middle fingers at South Carolina fans, the only decent team they've beaten for two straight years.
Of course, eight years ago Tennessee fans were ready to riot when Phil Fulmer received a contract extension every time he won eight games. Now if Tennessee football wins eight games they're probably going to put up a statue of Butch Jones.
Fans used to bitch about the team receiving SEC East divisional title rings. After this year's Gator Bowl win, the Vols gave out Gator Bowl championship rings. My how the mighty have fallen. Pretty soon Tennessee is going to give out state championship rings if they beat Vanderbilt and Memphis in the same season.
The only thing that keeps Tennessee hanging on the fringe of the top ten dumbest fan base list -- as opposed to surging towards the top -- is the fact that Tennessee has pro sports teams now. So the Tennessee Titans and the Memphis Grizzlies snap off a few of the dumbest fans from the Tennessee fan base tree. (The Nashville Predators don't take any of these dumbest fans because they don't have any fans).
What's a Tennessee Vol fan like in his native element?
Despite living in a single wide in a holler thirty-eight miles north of Knoxville, he vacations in Pigeon Forge -- making sure to book a room in a hotel with a Jacuzzi -- where he proceeds to screw his overly plump "fiancee" while eight of their kids -- three are his from his first shotgun marriage, four are from her first shotgun marriage, and one is his from a different woman when he was sixteen and it slipped -- sleep in the bedroom outside. They will spend the next three days riding go-carts, feeding bears bananas in concrete pits, eating funnel cakes, and talking about the time he saw Tee Martin in the Wendy's on Kingston Pike. ("He ordered a frosty. Paid with a twenty!")
Before leaving Pigeon Forge he will buy each of his kids a tie dye t-shirt that says, "Go to hell Gay-tors."
He has worn a Peyton Manning jersey every Saturday in the fall for the past 21 years. (On Sundays he wore a Colts jersey until Peyton moved to Denver and then he became a Broncos fan). He named his first son Peyton and his second son Manning. And he has a VFL tattoo on his arm even though he never took the ACT and thinks the F in Vol For Life stands for "fer."
He did take the GED though. Twice. Much like the 2013 Vanderbilt game, he prefers not to talk about it.
His most prominent trait is his ability to immediately suspend all disbelief and believe every word that a new football coach tells him.
When Lane Kiffin was hired he rubbed his hands together gleefully and told everyone he met, "Urban Meyer's about to get Kiffin'd!"
When Derek Dooley was hired he rubbed his hands together gleefully and told everyone he met, "Nick Saban's about to get Dooley'd!"
When Butch Jones was hired he rubbed his hands together gleefully and told everyone he met, "Nick Saban's about to get Butch-slapped!"
He believes Jesus spoke English and wrote the Bible and he thinks the sentence, "If God had wanted gay marriage he would have made Adam and Steve instead of Adam and Eve," is the funniest thing he has ever heard, and he repeats it at every family reunion at the Crossville KOA.
He still has dial up Internet from AOL, and he tried to Google for the first time during the Jon Gruden frenzy when he took to Google for three straight weeks and typed, "Johne Gruden Tennesee." He believes that ESPN "hates the Vols," and if you mention Charles Woodson in his presence he will spit out his chewing tobacco, grab his balls, and say, "My nuts should have gotten more Heisman votes than Charles Fucking Woodson."
He lies to his "fiancee" about taking a little blue pill, but the truth is that in order to get erections he sometimes puts on his copy of the Tennessee-Alabama VHS game from 1995, waits until Peyton Manning hits Joey Kent for an 80 yard score, and then returns ready for sexy time.
He has only left the South once in his life, when Tennessee played Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl. He ran out of gas money in New Mexico and stayed there working in a Denny's until he had enough money to drive back to Knoxville. When he got back to Knoxville he claimed that he'd been hanging out with former Vol wideout Craig Faulkner -- number four, no gloves -- in Las Vegas for the past three months.
Despite the fact that they have not beaten their top two rivals, the Florida Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide in a combined 18 years, he's perpetually certain that, "We're just a couple of plays away." And that they would have won the games against their bitter rivals if "the refs hadn't screwed us." In the darkest days of Vol football -- aka the Derek Dooley era -- when he drank too much Natty Ice he was prone to grabbing other Vol fans by the shoulder, leaning over, and whispering, "It's okay, buddy, we just gotta wait until Travis Henry's boys all get eligible." He was dead serious.
He was recently arrested for fighting because an Alabama fan saw his "Got Butch," t-shirt at a Pilot gas station and said, "Got Bitch more like it."
That was a month ago.
Neither man has posted the $500 bail yet.
This summer Outkick will be counting down the ten dumbest fan bases in America.
Every Thursday from now until August 13th we'll debut a new dumbest fan base. Be here as each fan base's dumbest members become outraged with each unveiling.